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Who Is Green Tara?

Green Tara  The Goddess Tara, a female Buddha, is the Bodhisattva of compassion. She is the center Bhakta figure in Buddhism. She is the deity aspect of a woman who made the Bodhisattva pledge; to remain on the earthly plane and help liberate all sentient beings from the karmic cycle of life, death, and rebirth so that humanity can move to the next level of evolution. In particular She represents compassion in action, since She's in the process of stepping from Her lotus throne in order to help those who call upon Her. The word 'Tara' is derived from the root 'tri' (to cross), implying that She is 'the one who enables living beings to cross samsara, the Ocean of Existence and Suffering'. Her compassion for living beings, Her desire to save them from suffering, is said to be even stronger than a mother's love for Her children. To many who worship Tara She is not only a Buddhist goddess, but also a manifestation of the Divine mother, such as Mother Mary in Christianity or the great goddess Shakti in Hinduism. Her attributes as protector and savioress are similar to those of the Hindu goddess Durga. His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, prays to Green Tara every day because it is believed that when Her compassionate qualities begin to manifest in all of us as individuals, there will at last be peace on earth. Green Tara is swift to respond to those who sincerely call upon Her for help. She is a very necessary deity in this Kali Yuga, 'age of spiritual darkness'. Tara is embodied in all women who help their fellow beings. She may answer your plea by coming to you disguised as your friend, or your mother, or someone else close to you.

Tara's Mantra ~ Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

 Mantras are enlightened compassion and awareness in the form of sound. All of manifest creation, from the human body to a planet, from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic, is in some state of vibration. The vibrational qualities of mantra stimulate and purify our subtle body's energy centers. Through simply coming into contact with them our beings are positively influenced. Tibetan Buddhists recite mantras as a way to connect to positive qualities and protect themselves from negativity [especially inner negativity]. Since our outer world is purely a reflection of our inner state, the mantra can have a profound effect on our surroundings. If one needs Tara and recites Her mantra (above), it is said that Tara will quickly come to assist. Om represents Tara's sacred body, speech and mind. Tare means liberating from all discontent. Tuttare means liberating from the eight fears, the external dangers, but mainly from the internal dangers, the delusions (listed above). Ture means liberation from duality and realization of our inseparable connection to all-that-is. Soha means "may the meaning of the mantra take root in my mind." Repeatedly reciting this mantra enhances Tara's innate qualities, which already exist in each of us and eventually invites Her consciousness to merge with that of the practitioner.

Green Tara: Symbology and Powers

 Green Tara is Tara's most dynamic manifestation. Her green color symbolizes youthful vigor and activity, as well as Her connection to the earth. The Buddhist Lord of karma (action/reaction), Amoghasiddhi, is also associated with the color green, a further affirmation that Green Tara is a goddess of action. She is often depicted in a posture of ease with right leg extended, signifying Her readiness to spring into action. The left leg is folded in the contemplative position on the lotus pedestal, the two together thus symbolizing the integration of wisdom and art. Her left hand, in the gesture of granting refuge holds the stem of a blue lotus that floats over Her left shoulder as a symbol of purity and power. With Her right hand She makes the boon-granting gesture. The followers of Green Tara believe that Her special powers will help them to overcome dangers, fears, and anxieties, and that She will grant wishes. She is also believed to help one cross over from danger to safety or from suffering to happiness. Her femininity imbues Her with soft and compassionate feelings, and She acts very quickly and directly as a savioress. Representing active compassion, She is particularly worshipped for Her ability to overcome the most difficult situations. As the first Dalai Lama puts it, just by being called to help, She instantaneously saves the faithful from attacks by the following eight (ego) calamities: lions (pride), wild elephants (delusions), forest fires (hatred), snakes (envy), robbers (fanatical views), prisons (avarice), floods (lust), and demons (doubts).

Tara's Origin

 The Tara Tantra recounts that many ages ago She was born as a king's daughter. A spiritual and compassionate princess, She regularly gave offerings and prayers to the ordained monks and nuns. She thus developed great merit, and the monks told Her that, because of Her spiritual attainments, they would pray that She be reborn as a man and spread Buddhist teachings. She responded that there was no male and no female, that nothing existed in reality, and that She wished to remain in female form to serve other beings until everyone reached enlightenment, hence implying the shortfall in the monk's knowledge in presuming only males may reach the exalted state of Bodhisattva or Buddha. Thus Tara might be considered one of the earliest feminists. Another legend of Tara is that She was born from the compassionate tears of Avalokiteshvara (The Buddha of compassion). Avalokiteshvara was looking down from his heaven on the world of suffering beings, and he wept to see that more and more of them were in pain. From the tears streaming down his face, two Taras were born, a peaceful white one from the left and a fierce green one from the right. Tara is thus also often referred to as Avalokiteshvara's consort. In a historical sense, Tara is associated with the two pious and virtuous wives of Tibet's first great religious king, Songsten Gambo (d. 649). White Tara is associated with his wife from imperial China, Wen Cheng, and Green Tara is identified with Bhrkuti, his Nepalese wife.

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